Bukayo Saka has been ruled out of England’s double-header with Australia and Italy after being assessed by medical staff at St George’s Park.
The 22-year-old reported for international duty despite missing Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Man City on Sunday, but after being evaluated by the England medical staff was released back to his club to continue his rehabilitation.
Gareth Southgate is not expected to call up a replacement to his 25-man squad. He had defended Saka’s inclusion when the squad was announced last Thursday, saying: “There’s another seven days before we play Australia and 10 days before we play Italy.”
England’s October squad
- Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).
- Defenders: Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayi Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
- Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (Arsenal).
- Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).
Saka limped out of Arsenal’s 2-1 Champions League defeat in Lens last Tuesday, days after he had been forced off late in their 4-0 win at Bournemouth.
His absence from the win over City, which took Arsenal joint-top of the Premier League alongside rivals Tottenham, ended a run of 87 consecutive Premier League appearances for the winger.
Manager Mikel Arteta said after the match he would not link up with England for their games over the international break, but he travelled to their East Midlands camp on Monday alongside his colleagues before he was later released.
“No, he will not make it,” Arteta said. “He has not trained for a single session.”
Depending on results elsewhere, should England beat Italy at Wembley next Tuesday they could seal qualification for Euro 2024.
Elsewhere, Jarrod Bowen and Ollie Watkins were recalled to Southgate’s England squad after impressive starts to the season for West Ham and Aston Villa respectively.
Watkins, who has scored eight goals in all competitions so far this season, has not been called up since March 2022 and returns days after Southgate watched the striker score a hat-trick in Aston Villa’s 6-1 win against Brighton.
Bowen returns to the England squad for the first time since September 2022 having scored five goals in eight league games for West Ham – and has since signed a new seven-year deal with the club.
England’s upcoming fixtures
- Friday October 13: vs Australia (h) – kick-off 7.45pm
- Tuesday October 17: vs Italy (h) – kick-off 7.45pm
- Friday November 17: vs Malta (h) – kick-off 7.45pm
- Monday November 20: vs North Macedonia (a) – kick-off 7.45pm
One the selections of Bowen and Watkins, Southgate added: “We have added Jarrod Bowen in the wide areas – he’s scored five in seven games – and with the Australia game, there’s an opportunity to learn some different things.
“Ollie Watkins has started the season well. He’s hit a bit of scoring form in the last couple of weeks. You have to be careful with that because you can’t just go on recency bias when you’re looking at selection, but he is in good form. He’s coming in on a high.
“He’s been with us before; we know his character, his personality. He’s a good guy around the group. He’s playing for a club that are really well-coached and the team are in a good moment.”